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JERSEY REDS FACE OFF AGAINST EALING TRAILFINDERS IN THE MATCH OF THE WEEKEND

I look forward to the rest of the season and the England v France Six Nations women’s rugby match is high on the watch list as more than 50,000 are expected at Twickenham. Awesome, and the imbalances elsewhere for the ‘other half’ of the Championship will be forgotten momentarily but it is a real issue. 

Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup Semi-finals are the same weekend and four matches of supreme club quality. Can’t wait.

In the leagues, the Premiership will do its best to generate some excitement this weekend with some must win games to achieve play offs but it’s a heroic idea that the interest will be high. Overshadowing all this is the impression that the government is now making life difficult for the clubs with the DCMS loans as expressed by Tony Rowe. I suspect this is to exert some influence, we shall see.

No, the biggest game in all the leagues this weekend is the showdown in Jersey between the Reds and my team, Ealing Trailfinders. Two professional sides giving it everything for the clinching win of the season, not disrespecting their final matches of course. The ground in Jersey is sold out, the anticipation is huge and a rightful climax for two sides who have dominated. As in all big matches the last 20 minutes will be key. At Bath in the old days, we prided ourselves in our iron will and discipline to see out close matches and never in fact failed to do so. It is as much mental as physical. To be clear either side can do this, both teams average 40 points plus per match, and have a 1-1 record against each other this season.

The fact that neither team can progress to the Premiership can be parked for the moment. Let us all enjoy – yes it will be live streamed! – the top match in any league across Europe this coming weekend. 

Oh, perhaps rivalled only by the three-way tussle for champion status in National One, where Cambridge, Sale FC and the Rams have taken it to the wire. What they will be promoted into we shall see in the coming weeks because there is still much confusion over the make-up of next year’s Championship, before longer lasting changes are decided.

The long-term health of many of our most prestigious clubs in the rugby heartlands is under discussion and no-one is under any illusions as to the challenges ahead.

The next month is critical for the future of our game – more on that, but for now the glorious holiday island of Jersey – where my World Cup squad of ’91 spent some time before that epic Q-final against France- is the venue for potential bragging rights at the top of the Championship. No place for the faint-hearted.

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